"Ava has learned new skills in communication, organisational skills, customer service and gained a greater self confidence."
Ava came to Volunteer for Knox to find a placement where she would feel safe, secure, learn new skills and practice her English.
Ava holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering qualification and is now attending Deakin University to learn further skills and gain qualifications in data analysis.
The 28-year-old and her husband emigrated from their home town of Isfahan, in Iran, in June 2018.
Ava describes Isfahan as a big traditional city, where tourists visit to view the local sights and infrastructure.
She and her husband now have permanent resident visas in Australia. Her brother lives in Melbourne and her sister in Perth.
Her mother still resides in Iran and is a regular visitor to her “Australian family”
The secretary of the Mountain Gate Op Shop met with Ava and agreed they would be a great match especially because she wanted to socialise, learn, give back to the community and feel welcomed and united in a team environment.
Ava lived locally and volunteered every Thursday from 9.30-4pm and did not miss one shift as it was her “happy day”.
Ava’s mother visited at Christmas where the amazing volunteers at Mountain Gate Op Shop extended a lovely welcome with a special lunch for Ava and her mother.
Before Ava and her husband immigrated they spent years learning English and it was mandatory for residence status that they both passed an English test.
She looks back and smiles at how she felt when she first arrived to how she feels now and contributes much of her confidence and security to the volunteer team of Mountain Gate.
Ava highly recommends volunteering for socialisation and she feels it is purposeful, giving something back to the community and is happy the funds from the Mountain Gate Op shop goes to families with the greatest of needs.
William registered with Volunteer for Knox in 2018.
William, 20, was looking for a new challenge and interest in his life after completing studies. He lives with Muscular Dystrophy and relies on a wheelchair for mobility purposes but was looking to join a sporting service as his passions are football and rugby.
After a little bit of behind the scenes work with Volunteer for Knox and Knox City Council sporting services, Scoresby Football Club was contacted.
From there William and Scoresby Football Club have ventured on with an excellent outcome. William is involved with ticket sales and drinks at break times and is a keen participant around the club. We are told that William's overall life happiness has increased and Scoresby's workload has decreased with William on board. He even got to meet footy legend Kevin Sheedy at a club lunch!
A win win for everyone involved.
Margaret came to Volunteer for Knox with a 38 year career in the clothing industry. She had done everything from working in the warehouse to customer service to becoming a Personal Assistant. With a range of transferable skills and knowledge she was able to move around the industry, plying her trade to other places in the field.
Margaret finished her last job and took a well-earned rest before deciding what she wanted to do with her future. Understandably she no longer wanted to work full time, though part-time work had its appeal. Now considered unemployed, with a Centrelink requirement of 15 hours’ voluntary work, she approached the Volunteer for Knox team and attended an induction. Her skills were matched with the Orana Community House in Wantirna South, who were in need of a receptionist. Knowing she had skills to offer she looked forward to applying them to a new role, different to what had once been familiar.
“I thought volunteering in the community would be a good place to start,” she said, as she settled in to the reception desk at Orana. Two weeks later, Coonara Community House in Upper Ferntree Gully were also in need of reception support and through Volunteer for Knox she was offered a position there as well. After three months working at Orana, Margaret was offered a 12 hour a week paid position as a casual Administrator, which then became a permanent part-time position.
Volunteer for Knox would like to congratulate Natalie on her outstanding efforts volunteering at Murrindal and Knoxfield Pre-Schools for the past ten years.
Staff member Jodie speaks so highly of Natalie and her incredible achievements.
"Natalie feels very comfortable with us and we have seen her grow from strength to strength over the nine years of her volunteering," Jodie said.
"Her interactions with staff, families and children are just wonderful.
"She cares for the children beautifully and they are excited to see her every day she volunteers.
"Natalie is fantastic caring for small groups of children and helps to build on the children’s skills and confidence.
"She is very patient and kind and understands the challenges of children with additional needs and does so with such kindness, empathy and commitment.
"She has grown so much in confidence that she is now volunteering with Oz Child and Wesley Mission supporting older children with various activities.
"We are very lucky to have Natalie as our super talented volunteer and hope that she knows how much we appreciate her every single day."
Graham, 60, decided it was time to retire and found that he had a lot more spare time on his hands. He approached Volunteer for Knox and attended a monthly induction/information session. Graham had worked as a shop fitter/builder.
A volunteer opportunity arose for Graham and he is now volunteering two days a week in a landscaping/building maintenance/grounds improvement program. This program was specifically designed to train long term unemployed clients in specific skill sets to add to their CV’s and assist in finding permanent employment.
Graham has found this volunteer role exceptionally rewarding. It’s company for him and provides company and socialisation for the clients. They are achieving marvellous things together and making plans grow before their eyes. Graham said it’s a feel good role and he is enjoying the company of younger people and the diversity of personalities. He also enjoys watching others achieve and learning new skills himself. He drives seven minutes from home and looks forwards to his Wednesdays and Thursdays. So much so, he has encouraged his wife to apply for a volunteering position with Volunteer for Knox too.